Weed History was made in 2018 in the passing of Bill C-45 – Recreational cannabis was officially legalized on October 17, 2018, by the Federal Government. From the sky, you’d likely see a plume of smoke over certain Canadian cities, Kamloops, B.C being the only legal weed shop in all of British Columbia, with a line up outside with eager buyers waiting to make their first legal marijuana purchase. With Canada recently passing the Cannabis Act, this is a revolutionary time for the cannabis industry and many companies that have been trailblazers for this much-needed change. Existing growers and producers are expanding operations and investing in capital, demand is surpassing the supply, meaning it is an extremely attractive market for weed companies and will have a positive impact on the Canadian economy.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers, according to BNN Bloomberg (if you like sales, you like numbers):
- About 4.9 million Canadians used cannabis and consumed more than 20 grams of marijuana per person in 2017, spending a total $5.6 billion on the product, according to estimates from Statistics Canada.
- Legal cannabis sales could reach $6.5 billion by 2020, according to an estimate from CIBC analysts JohnZamparo, Prakash Gowd, and Mark Petrie. In a report published last month, the analysts predicted cannabis sales could top sales of spirits.
- 63 percent of current cannabis users in Canada plan to make purchases at legal retailers, according to a survey commissioned by Deloitte that polled 1,500 Canadians.
- Canadian adults will be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public.
So – what does that mean for the organization in this thriving industry? The growth of the pot biz has been no secret, and businesses have been waiting to find out ‘where can I market my cannabis and marijuana?’ and ‘what am I allowed to do when it comes to marketing cannabis products and services?’ Consumers purchasing marijuana are nothing short of diverse, and unlike selling shoes, there is a large education component of understanding the products, different strains, dosages, health benefits… the list goes on. The rules on marketing pot products can be subjective and open to interpretation. Financial Post noted in a recent online article cannabis marketing rules are ‘still hazy’, it’s clear as a crystalized bud that there are limitations:
- Packaging should not appeal to children, or promote a glamorous lifestyle.
- Limitations and restrictions on where to market, such as newspapers, radio, billboards, and many traditional communication channels.
Health Canada spokeswoman stated, “Newspapers available to the public should not generally contain any promotional material, including advertising, related to cannabis,”.
With limitations on where cannabis products can be sold, and how it can be packaged, marketers are investing their advertising budgets on online initiatives such as search engine optimization, cannabis marketing experts and social campaigns targeting the 18+ market.
Two core avenues for educating and promoting marijuana, cannabis, and hemp products is through:
- Trade shows – prior to legalization, tradeshows in the marijuana Industry were far and few between. Cannabis tradeshows are now popping up, and it allows for industry to network and learns, as well as an opportunity to engage with consumers and the public that is specifically at these events to talk to brands! The upcoming 2019 Vancouver Expo has one day specifically for Industry, followed by ‘Consumer Weekend’.
- Festivals and Events – with the minimum age of 18, festivals and other events are a great way to target a specific age group to which you’re allowed to market to in a concentrated area. This can be done by deploying a well-trained street team to drive brand awareness and interest to your brand through digital media, social campaigns consumer surveys, swag, and educational pamphlets etc.
When hiring an agency to manage a cannabis promotion, ensure the promotional agency is aligned with your political views on selling marijuana. Although it’s ‘not a big deal’ to some, the reality is not all businesses and individuals support the industry. You also want to ensure that the promotional agency has knowledge and understanding of the rules and regulations, licensing requirements, and can provide your campaign with educated and articulate brand ambassadors that can support you at events.
Buzz Promotions is fully supportive of the recent legalization of Canada, and the opportunity to partner with suppliers, retailers, procurers to be an advocate for safe, legal marijuana usage. If you are in the industry and want more information on how a promotional campaign through Buzz Promotions can help you get to market faster, boost sales and drive brand recognition!
Not only can we help with sales campaigns, but our goal is also to provide guidance, educational campaigns to educate on the risks, and safe usage is just one of many other ways we can support this movement.
Hope to see you at one of the upcoming cannabis and marijuana trade shows!
Establishing a strong social media presence will have an impact on your next trade show. However, many companies are afraid of social media because it takes a lot of commitment. In order to maintain visibility, you must stay active and provide followers with consistent, high-quality content. There are many advantages if you actually decide to commit. Here are some reasons:
Social media like twitter and Instagram is a valuable market research tool. In the weeks prior to the event, take time to research key words and hashtags that are relevant to the show, your brand, and your industry. This extracts useful insight from potential attendees. What are they excited about? Do they know you’ll be there? You can take social media analytics even deeper by using data mining tools to discover the most commonly used words, phrases, and sentiments.
A channel for communication
Make your presence known to users who are discussing the event by responding to, liking on Instagram and retweeting their tweets. This reminds people you’re accessible and proves you care about customers enough to interact with them. Adding this personal touch will incline users to visit your booth.
Your social media should be a channel for communication. For example, you could announce a “Live Q&A”, where you spend an hour or two answering questions about the event, your company, and the products at your exhibit.
What’s happening at your booth right now? For example use Instagram or Twitter to talk about any promotions, giveaways, or exciting demonstrations that are scheduled at your exhibit, and provide incentives to attendees who share it on their own timelines.
Bear in mind that not all your followers will be there live. Be deliberate when live posting by using only high-quality info and photos that all of your followers can enjoy.
Customer satisfaction tool
Social media is an excellent customer satisfaction tool. Similar to the pre-show research process, take time to discover how users felt about the trade show overall — along with your booth, your products, and other competitors at the event. Ask for constructive feedback — they might provide useful insight that will improve your next trade show appearance.
This follow-up process can save customer relationships. If you find a user with an issue or a question, contact them right away with the solution. Small gestures such as this will build you a reputation for proactive, communicative customer service.
Social media advantages in summary
If you’re willing to commit to your social media accounts, you’ll reap the benefits at your next trade show. It will keep you fresh in attendees minds, and your company will build a reputation for being interactive, communicative, and personable. Combining these advantages will lead to higher booth traffic, more sales leads, and a successful trade show overall.
Becoming a Professional Promotional Model or Brand Ambassador has many benefits. You get the opportunity to freelance and make your own schedule while building brands, large and small! Developing excellent marketing and sales skills while having fun, making great money, building your portfolio, while working internationally (for all you beautiful people that love to travel) – we call that living the dream. See the world and work anywhere as a brand ambassador, there are organizations all over Canada, United States, Australia and beyond that are waiting to hire you to represent their brand.
In order for a legitimate promotional agency to hire you, here’s a few ‘need-to-know’ tips and tricks that will have talent agencies calling you every weekend!
- Professional Headshot and Photos: This is absolutely critical for getting hired by a marketing agency. We can’t stress this enough. Photos submitted must be high quality, recent and an accurate representation of your appearance. Clients have different needs and markets, they are seeking talent that will accurately represent their brand. Show personality. Headshots should be simple. No cell phone selfies, no hands by your face no bathroom photos no photos with clutter dress in basic attire, jeans, black or white t-shirt or tank top is always a safe choice make up lighting warm and friendly look approachable.
There are TONs of photographers looking to gain experience and build their portfolio, you can get photos done at a very low cost. Or, you can learn how to create your own headshots!
- Learn Basic Sales Knowledge – Business Owners & Sales and Marketing Manager have 2 main goals with experiential marketing: 1. Sell Products and/or Services. 2. Brand Awareness. In that order. Basic sales and marketing knowledge go a long way especially if you’re expected to sell. It’s very easy to find some excellent resources online to help you expand your skillset. Who knows, there could be some great incentives.
- Be flexible and available – the more you show initiative to take on projects, the more calls you will get. The industry is known for thriving on flexibility but if you’re never available, you won’t get the bookings!
- Gain some experience – Build your portfolio make sure you take photos and use social media!
Looking to gain some experience in the marketing industry?
Are you a client looking to hire experienced Brand Ambassadors?
REQUEST A QUOTE TODAY!
The Importance of Effective Trade Show Staffing
Trade show season is upon us in all major North American cities. From New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles to major cities north of the border, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Companies preparing for a dynamic trade show tend to focus on having engaging give-aways, modern signage and branding, well-designed booths and marketing material to provide your visitors. The one component that ends up in the oblivion: your trade show booth personnel.
Recruiting and hiring professional brand ambassadors are paramount to successfully market your product or service at a trade show. Regardless of industry. Whether you are in the home improvement, automotive or alcoholic beverage industry, the trade show booth personnel promoting your product and engaging with attendees are critical! Brand ambassadors are highly trained in the art of establishing relationships that turn prospects into leads and then into buyers, and personifying your product’s quality and image.
You do not want just anyone manning your exhibit. Buzz Promotions strongly encourages companies to staff their booths with the best talent you can find. Smart, articulate and charming trade show brand ambassadors that can learn your business quick – a skill that not all people can quickly adapt to.
In order to truly execute an effective trade show marketing initiative, efficient staffing is key. However, in order to properly execute a marketing campaign, and launch your brand to the next level, you need a reputable marketing team behind you! Buzz Promotions takes the time to review each client individually and believes in your product (and ours), has superior communication and customer-service skills, and fully understands your objectives.
Helpful Tips on Choosing the Ideal Trade Show Booth Personnel
We do not recommend using volunteers to execute your trade show personnel. Trade show brand ambassadors have extensive training on experiential marketing and trade shows, products, goals, target audience and an effective and engaging approach. Here are some tips for effective trade show staffing, and creating a Buzz for your brand.
- Your trade show booth personnel must be friendly, lively and fully engaged in your company’s products and services. All brand ambassadors must be dressed to impress and well groomed. We ensure our roster shows up to all events in a professional manner.
- Basic on-site training for trade show staffing is mandatory, including a detailed guideline and script on how to educate the public about your business.
- Greet ALL attendees quickly and confidently. Have trade show personnel introduce themselves with a one-minute overview of your company and its benefits, ask questions to find out if the visitors are in fact your target audience, then spend another 30 seconds giving details on products or services and getting visitor information to ensure easy post event follow-up.
- Ensure all expectations are clear prior to your personnel arriving on-site. This includes brand ambassador dress codes, when to arrive, how long they’ll be required to work the booth, proper trade show etiquette (i.e. no eating, drinking or sitting down). Not 100% sure how to assess your needs? Buzz Promotions has you covered!
- Don’t understaff or overstaff your trade show exhibit. Staffing your booth with too many people may deflect visitors who may think your exhibit is too busy. On the flip side, if you under staff your booth, you run the risk of not having enough resources to pitch your business, answer questions, and accommodate breaks.
Most importantly, it is critical for you and your sales team to follow up with leads immediately via phone calls, emails, and invitations to discuss next steps. Don’t forget to update your website and social media with photos!
Have a trade show coming up? Get in touch with us today for top talent when it comes to trade show brand ambassadors and personnel!
Looking for the Right VoIP Provider?
Three years ago, I embarked the journey of a lifetime when I turned my home-based business Buzz Promotions to remote-based. Since then, I am fortunate enough to have travelled across three continents and numerous new countries. However, my experience could not have been possible without modern communication technology granting me the freedom to expand my scope.
Believe it or not, the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of running a remote business was finding the right VoIP provider. It took the better part of eight months, hundreds of hours of research and dozens of calls to find a company that could meet my very specific requirements. While there is an abundance of great VoIP services in North America, each one comes with its own unique set of obstacles, especially in Canada.
Line2 was able to accommodate all my business and personal needs. Not only did Line 2 port over my existing number, it also hooked me up a toll-free Canadian number. In other words, I can call anywhere in North America, from anywhere in the world, on any internet connection. While local long-distance charges still apply as before with my Vancouver number, anyone in Canada can call Buzz Promotions’ business line toll-free. Moreover, if I miss a call, all of my voice mails instantly go to my e-mail inbox which has made it easy to return calls right away. Text messages, although not 100% reliable, are also free to and from other national numbers. Needless to say, for Buzz Promotions, Line2 is as a vital asset when I connect with promo staffing opportunities Canada-wide.
Line2 is a VoIP app that allows you to make and receive calls over Wifi and 3/4G. Unlike their few Canadian competitors, Line2 also enables texting to/from your number. It’s a small fraction of what we pay for our regular cell phone plans. Personally I chose to pay for a year upfront which came to $150. I ported in my cell number which means I transferred it from my old provider, Telus, to Line2. Since my cell number is now simply a Canadian number instead of a BC/Vancouver specific number (despite keeping the same area code) I can send and receive calls across Canada without long distance fees. I have no need for international calling since I use local sim cards in each country I visit (3G) and I rarely call outside of North America. That said, Line2 offers long distance credit at minimal rates.
One of the main problems I ran into with other Canadian VoIP apps is that even though they worked identically in Canada, they admitted to either horrible call quality or no capability at all while overseas. I was pretty thorough with my questions before I ported my number but ultimately it was a gamble once I stepped foot in Asia. I should mention that I also paid for a 1-800 number for my business. It was the same price ($150/year) plus a one-time $15 fee for the number. I have the line2 app both on my iPhone and on my desktop. Unfortunately you can only have one number connected at a time. It was a no-brainer that my cell needed to be connected to my cell number. I ended up forwarding the 1-800 number to my cell so now all calls come to my iPhone. I have my desktop app linked directly to my business line so when my laptop is open and someone calls my business line it rings on both my cell and my computer.
Besides the functionalities mentioned above, Line2 has all kinds of useful features including a virtual assistant/operator, conference calling, choosing which number shows up on a receiving party’s caller ID, linking other non-line2 numbers to your directory, groups (friends, work) which you can have separate settings and greetings for plus all voicemails are visual and you’ll be e-mailed a sound-clip as well.
However, although Line2 offered great convenience, inevitably there are some downsides as well. For one, the app goes offline if you don’t use it for a certain period of time and if there is a disruption in Internet connection. This is a bit frustrating for two reasons: you have to re-open the app several times a day and will not always receive your calls/texts in real time. By doing so multiple times daily, the app drains iPhone battery. However, personally speaking, these challenges are a small price to pay to be able to make a living from a tropical paradise. I’ve easily adapted by carrying a couple extra battery cases and making it clear that if you don’t leave me a voicemail there’s a slight chance I might miss your call.
For a remote business owner like myself, Line2 is a necessity for the success of my company. For everyone else, if you’re willing to deal with a few minor inconveniences (although you’ll gain several benefits) you can save yourself hundreds or thousands a year.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I’ve done enough research for a lifetime. If you are interested in switching to Line2 and list Buzz Promotions as your reference, both of us will receive a $10.00 credit!
For more information…
• Please e-mail Andrea@buzzpromotions.ca with your full name and e-mail address with the subject line “Line2 invite”.
• You will be sent an URL and MUST sign up for paid service via this URL to qualify.
• You will receive your $10 credit on your 2nd month of service.
Based in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Toronto and/or Montreal with opportunity to travel.
Are you obsessed with social media? Do you find yourself coming up with innovative ideas every day? Do you dream of working underneath a palm tree and dread the thought of a desk job? Buzz Promotions is a Vancouver-based fully remote event marketing agency offering a unique summer intern-ship with the opportunity to advance to a well-paid position. The training provided will be unpaid however we will negotiate a stipend for the hours worked and tasks completed (independent contractors working remotely). We’ve recently re-branded and expanded into Australia so we need someone dedicated and hard-working that wants to learn the ropes. We’re hiring 1-2 social media and marketing interns looking to get their foot in the door of the Event and Promotions industry or who dream of being able to work from anywhere. This internship entails assisting and implementing all marketing strategies essential for the growth of the company. Our ideal candidate is an innovative thinker who craves learning new skills and takes pride in tackling challenges. As an intern you will get to work with our director and marketing manager on real projects that will have an impact on us and on you. Our goal is to offer you a well-paid part-time remote position after your 3 month internship is complete. We are not another company looking for free/cheap labour. In fact, if you complete the internship, we will put together a portfolio of your projects that you can use for future endeavours.
What You’ll Learn:
- How to create a long term social media and marketing plan.
- How to track social media analytics report results and new ideas to our marketing team.
- The tools that allow a business to function remotely.
- How to grow a network through on-line and off-line events
- Additional SEO and WordPress skills.
- Inside knowledge of the events marketing industry with exclusive networking opportunities.
- Much more – you’ll be working closely with our team leaders.
- Maintain and grow Buzz Promotions current social media accounts
- Recommend and build a company presence on additional social media sites
- Attend networking events and client meetings/calls
- Develop and execute marketing campaigns and track effectiveness
- Assist in writing/editing marketing materials including articles, sale sheets, and presentations
- Update Buzz Promotions website using Content Management System (WordPress) and SEO
- Assist in off-line promotional development and marketing strategies
- Other duties assigned
Skills and Specifications:
- Current or recent student in business, media & communications, web design or event planning
- Highly organized with ability to prioritize time-sensitive assignments.
- Fearless – not afraid to be a bold outside-the-box thinker.
- Love for using social networking sites and general.
- Desire to learn and contribute
- Knowledge of marketing principles and ability to apply new technologies to marketing principles
- Ability to solve problems, analyze systems and data and suggest appropriate solutions
- Highly self-motivated and able to work individually with direction
If this sounds interesting we want to hear from you. The position begins in early June and ends September 1st. Applications deadline is June 4th, 2015.
To apply please forward your resume and portfolio/samples of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ‘FLUCTUATING’ DOLLAR QUESTION: WHY PROMO AGENCIES PRICES AREN’T DEFINITIVE
As a seasoned Promotional Staffing Coordinator of 7 years, unsurprisingly, the first and most certain question I’m asked by potential and returning clients is “what is the cost?”; to which I am unable to provide an immediate answer in most cases. It’s an answer that will determine the outcome of our business partnership, and yet the topic of pricing has become increasingly complicated due to the saturation of promotional staffing market. To operate within the given marketing budget, most clients are likely asking this same question to several promo agencies. However, it’s as ambiguous as going to five different restaurants and asking “how much is your food?” and just as ill-advised as to go with the lowest bidder.
This is very much an industry where you get what you pay for. Many promotional representatives and brand ambassadors simultaneously work for multiple agencies as sub-contractors. The agency that provides its clients with the lowest bid will, in turn, offer the lowest wages. When wages decrease, so do the staffing pool and quality of staff. The highest-performing staff will likely pursue a higher paying job either by another client, or with another agency. In fact, there are agencies offering beautiful, experienced promotional staff and sending out inexperienced retirees in their place. These are the agencies who have undercut their competition and are now providing nothing more than then first respondent of a classified ad on their clients behalf.
Generally speaking, promo staff prices in Canada are in the $30-$40/hour range (fees included). To best execute your experiential marketing campaign, I will require specific details to negotiate and to provide an accurate quote for your business. Before you book your first promotional agency, here are some essential variables that will influence promo staff prices:
- Most importantly, please give me an idea of the budget you’re working with. So many times I’ve spent hours liaising with potential clients, trying to come up with a fair price for their request, only to find out in the end that their budget wouldn’t even cover my costs, let alone time.
- Where is the event? Rate range varies from region to region. Rural areas are far more difficult to staff and often require paid travel.
- What time is the event? If it requires driving at 3 am, chances are there will be a travel per diem.
Is it a private event and if so will it be held in a private residence? This doesn’t come up too often but sending brand ambassadors to residential events comes with a lot more hesitation. We usually require a minimum amount of staff for safety reason, pay them slightly more and ask for 100% upfront.
- What are the uniform/outfit requirements? Bikini-clad roller-skating servers are going to be paid significantly more than street teams in jeans and branded tops. Mascots will also be compensated differently.
- What is the total number of hours/staff? There is definitely some wiggle room if you’re booking 100 hours but my business and my staff will suffer when I start to discount 10 hour contracts.
- Are you willing to sign an agreement right now, well ahead of time? If so, I’m happy to negotiate. Last-minute staffing requires tight deadlines and subsequently more work.
- What payment terms work for you? If a lower-than-average rate has been negotiated, payment will almost definitely be expected upfront and/or immediately following an event.
For on-going agreements such as tastings, demos and street teams, here are some other details to consider:
- How many shifts/hours/staff per week or month will you be booking? This can be a ballpark answer but this information is imperative when deciding or negotiating a price.
- Will you require product financing?
- Will you require training, materials and/or delivery? These are additional costs to be considered.
To provide your business with the best quality of service that suits your budget, a promotional agency needs to compensate our staff fairly. In order to stay competitive, most agencies choose not to disclose general prices on their websites and discuss rates by negotiation. If you are seeking out multiple agencies, it is the best to approach the matter in an ethical and transparent manner. If you come across a competitor offering a similar solution at a close price, please let me know. I’d love to match their rate or work with you to improve the original terms/services. Shopping around becomes detrimental if a client is considering price as their only basis or creating a bidding war – something I’ve seen happen and seen falsified many times in my career. When you have two or more agencies undercutting each other to obtain the contract, everyone involved suffers the consequences.
Please help us find a detailed solution that you will be satisfied with while remaining mindful of the expenditures, pressures, risk and diligent effort we take on in order to fulfill that satisfaction.
If you asked me where I live I’d try my best to find an answer that would make you comfortable but the truth is “home” is not any one place to me. In July 2012 I made the decision to travel around the world. Exactly 8 months later, on March 20th 2013, I had turned my previously home-based business into a remote-based business, sold almost all of my possessions and left on the journey of a lifetime. Since that day I’ve been lucky enough to travel across 3 continents. I’ve lived in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Bali and spent months on tropical beaches throughout Asia. The one and only constant in my non-conventional life is my job.
I consider myself extremely lucky to live in an age where technology allows for freedom. That said many of the people I’ve travelled with were surprised to learn just how much of my time is spent working. Buzz Promotions was successful before I left but I had no idea if my success would continue to grow, or even if it was possible to uphold, once I left Canada. On average I spend 20-30 hours per week in cafes working off Wi-Fi. You will rarely see me on the beach without my IPhone and spare battery. The truth is my nomadic life, freedom, flying to a new country every few months; these are the things that motivate me. My job is my freedom therefore I hold it in the highest regard, perhaps more so than I did before I left.
One of the biggest career challenges I’ve faced is the reaction to working remotely. Of course there have been clients and staff who’ve supported me and I am grateful that they have. There’s also been a fair share of eye-brow raising, hesitation and non-acceptance. I’ve come to terms with people not understanding my constantly moving life-style or the ins and outs of a business with virtually no in-person interactions. Even though I accept these hesitations, I cannot personally relate to them. With Skype, VoIP phone services, on-line banking, Dropbox and social media I can honestly say I’m MORE connected with my staff and clients now than I was when I was working from my home office in Canada. Of course I can’t be physically present for events but I make a point of being engaged to the fullest extent from the other side of the world. Even in Canada, a lot of the time I was dealing with people in other provinces. It wasn’t until after I left that this became a concern for some individuals which in-turn prompted me to keep everything as under wraps as possible.
Over the last two years I’ve run into many like-minded people, including several associates from Canada. I’ve found myself surrounded by opportunities to grow my business and provide valuable information/opportunities to my existing clients and staff. Recently I created an Australian branch of Buzz Promotions during my time down under. I’ve scoped out chocolates in Belgium and leather boots in Bangkok amongst many others. I made a point to reach out to the owners of these small businesses to create a lasting network that literally spans the globe. I believe these connections are assets to me and I am an asset to them. This goes for all my existing contacts “back home” in Canada as well. I’ve decided to use this blog as a platform to inspire and teach others based on my own experience. If somebody is hesitant to hire me because our physical distance makes them uncomfortable that’s okay. If the last two years of travel have taught me anything it’s that you should find connections, both personal and professional, that align with your goals, beliefs and opinions.
by Andrea Johnstone